This year, national conversation week focuses on finances. Of the 2000 people surveyed by National Conversation Week, around 40% admitted that finances are one of their biggest worries.

Money can be such a worry for so many people. Not knowing whether you’ll be able to pay the rent and bills from month to month can be terrifying, exhausting and demoralising. In this time of austerity, more and more people are turning to places like food banks to survive when services and benefits are removed.

In some cases, worrying about money can be so overwhelming it can lead to thoughts of suicide. Many people that call us on HOPELINEUK tell us that financial worries can feel completely entrapping and suicide may feel like an option to escape this situation.

As part of national conversation week, if you know someone who is struggling with financial worries and you think they might be feeling suicidal; remember it’s ok to ask them. Asking someone if they are thinking about suicide doesn’t make it worse or put an idea in someone’s head. In fact, asking someone clearly and directly if they are having thoughts of suicide can give them a chance to open up about feelings society often feels too scared to talk openly about.

There are many organisations that can help with finances. Some debt charities even contact creditors on behalf of those in debt and can arrange debt management plans on their behalf; taking away this terrible and scary financial burden for the person in debt.

Other charities may offer financial grants or aid to alleviate debt and, despite austerity, there may even be financial support the government can offer to those in a financial crisis.

None of these things though will be of any use unless someone in debt and also feeling suicidal is safe from suicide. To help someone keep safe from suicide, first we need to ask them the most important and lifesaving question: are you having thoughts of suicide?

If the answer to that question is yes, you could let someone know about PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK. HOPELINEUK supports young people up to the age of 35 experiencing thoughts of suicide. HOPELINEUK also offers support to professionals, friends and family supporting someone who is experiencing thoughts of suicide. The experienced Suicide Prevention Advisors can signpost people to various help and support services across the UK; including services that can offer specialist advice about debt, finances and money concerns.

Many people who contact HOPELINEUK tell us about finances being a contributory factor when thinking about suicide. It’s important that, while we encourage people to have an open conversation about finances, we’re also prepared to have an open conversation about suicide. It could save a life.

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